Led coalition strikes kill pro-regime forces in Syria

US fighter jets were involved in raids against Syrian regime forces on Wednesday. Bram Janssen  AP

Damascus accused Washington on Thursday of committing a "war crime" in Syria after coalition airstrikes and artillery attacks killed scores of pro-government fighters in Deir Ezzor province, Reuters reported.

The Pentagon said that earlier on Wednesday evening, an estimated 500 Syrian government fighters and heavy artillery had crossed an agreed "demarcation line" along the Euphrates river and had launched an "unprovoked attack" on the SDF headquarters.

"The coalition conducted strikes against attacking forces to repel the act of aggression" against its own personnel and the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) hosting them, it said.

An anonymous USA official also told CNN, "We estimate more than 100 Syrian pro-regime forces were killed while engaging (Syrian Democratic Forces) and Coalition forces".

No U.S. -led coalition forces were injured in the attack, but one SDF member was wounded. The coalition said the strikes had been carried out to defend its allies.

President Bashar al-Assad's government said through a state-run news agency that the coalition airstrike caused many casualties, labelling it an act of aggression.

Russia's top diplomat for Afghanistan says there are indications that the USA military is allowing Islamic State fighters fleeing from Syria and Iraq to infiltrate Afghanistan.

Those forces were "likely seeking to seize oilfields in Khusham that had been a major source of revenue for [ISIS] from 2014 to 2017", that official continued.

Recent days have seen dozens of people killed in the rebel-held areas of Eastern Ghouta and Idlib province, which have been targeted by Russia-backed Syrian government forces.




Turkish officials say the leaders of Turkey, Russia and Iran will meet in Istanbul to discuss peace efforts for Syria.

"We appreciate the Russian Federation's professionalism and regular communication [with its military units deployed to Syria] via the de-confliction line", he noted.

"Neither U.S. officials nor the U.S. -backed coalition have offered details on the identity of attacking forces".

Syria's regime and pro-Assad Russia were furious with the strikes.

Russia's U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia says he will raise the USA -led coalition's deadly airstrike on Syrian government-backed troops during closed consultations later Thursday in the U.N. Security Council.

The Syrian Democratic Forces have been a crucial American ally in the fight against ISIS.

Russia's foreign ministry meanwhile claimed Thursday that the US airstrike on pro-Assad troops reflected Washington's attempts to seize Syrian economic assets.

A US Navy F/A-18 shot down a Syrian regime Su-22 jet last June that had attacked US-backed forces on the ground.

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